The Haydn Society of Great Britain journal no. 37 is now being sent out to members, just in time for Christmas. Look out for yours! If you would like to become a member of the Haydn Society of Great Britain, then do visit our Membership page for more details.
We have recently spoken with Ian Page of the Classical Opera company and we’re delighted to hear that they will give a performance of Haydn’s Applausus at Cadogan Hall next month with a first class cast of young singers. Ian writes:
Commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Cistercian abbot taking his monastic vows in the small Austrian town of Zwettl, this work has been largely forgotten, but the music is revelatory, ranging from the ‘Sturm und Drang’ dynamism of its two bass arias to two exquisite tenor concertante arias featuring extended solos for harpsichord and violin respectively.
You can book to see Applausus on 15 March via this link or by phone on 020 7730 4500.
This August, Haydn Society of Great Britain Director Denis McCaldin travelled to Eisenstadt to take part in a symposium. Professor McCaldin writes:
“‘Haydn & the Creation – origin and reception history’ was the title of a two-day symposium sponsored by the International Joseph Haydn Private Foundation Eisenstadt (www.haydnfestival.at) and held there on the 28-29th August this year.
Convened by its director Dr Walter Reicher, talks ranged from a survey of some 23 CD recordings, dating back to one conducted by Clemens Kraus in 1943 (Eva Stockler), to technical comment on the famous ‘Representation of Chaos’ (Denis McCaldin and Tibor Nemeth) and the Jewish perspective of the work (Caryl Clark).
The symposium ended with a roundtable discussion about the continuing neglect of Haydn’s work by the music-loving public.”
We were pleased to read that Sir Simon Rattle opened the new season at the Berlin Philharmonie on 25 August with a performance of Haydn’s The Creation. It is possible to catch up with the broadcast of this performance via this link.
This month, the LSO wind up their 2016-17 orchestral season with a pair of concerts including Haydn’s music. Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey is an idea of Music Director Designate Sir Simon Rattle, in which familiar ideas of the composer are brought together in an orchestral pasticcio. The LSO told us:
Sir Simon not only chose his own favourite movements for the pasticcio but also works that tell a story. The oratorio The Creation begins with an instrumental introduction representing chaos. Menacing timpani blows, swirling expanses of sound, dissonances and tentative chains of notes convey the impression of something in turmoil, in the process of formation, not yet concrete. It goes without saying, however, that everything is in order as far as Haydn’s composition is concerned, despite these elements of chance and disorder. The “Terremoto” (Earthquake) from the instrumental work The Seven Words of Christ on the Cross also depicts chaotic conditions. After the death of Jesus on the cross, the world is out of balance, the earth trembles – at least musically. The introduction to “Winter” from the oratorio The Seasons portrays, in Haydn’s own words, “the thick fog with which winter begins”. Another spectacle of nature – calm at sea, stormy seas and the gentle play of waves – is depicted in the overture to the Azione teatrale [theatrical action] L’isola disabitata.
Few people think of Haydn as an opera composer today, since his most important genre was instrumental music, particularly the symphony. With the exception of the minuet from Symphony No. 6 (“Le Matin”), which probably dates from 1761, Simon Rattle has chosen movements from symphonies which Haydn composed for the musical entertainment of his employer, Prince Nikolaus I Esterházy, during the 1770s and 80s. The selection illustrates the sense of adventure, variety and, above all, humour with which the composer applied himself to this genre. Every movement surprises the listener with something witty. Sir Simon came up with an original idea for the transition from Symphony No. 45, the “Farewell” Symphony, to the Finale of Symphony No. 90: music for flute clocks. In these mechanical marvels, the clockwork operates a small organ with a pinned cylinder that plays a musical work. Haydn, who was a friend of Father Primitivus Niemecz, Prince Esterházy’s librarian and a clockmaker, composed a number of pieces for his flute clocks, several of which will be played today. “We’ll see whether it works,” says Simon Rattle, “but the idea is to make a musical journey through all that is quirky and extraordinary, humorous and profound in Haydn. Hopefully this pasticcio will give a picture of the composer who most summed up all the ideals of the Enlightenment, of intelligence, respect, humour, wit and profound thought.”
Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey is at the Barbican from 12-13 July 2017.
The concert on 17 February 2017, including a performance of Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B flat, takes place in St. Paul’s Covent Garden, the venue for the concert we supported in 2016 of Ben’s new arrangement of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross.
Tickets will be available on the door.